Subtractive manufacturing

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) highlighted the importance of subtractive manufacturing for the UK at its first showcase event in this key technology area.Organisers now hope the day will become a biennial fixture. More than 100 people attended the sold out event, hearing from machining experts at the University of Sheffield AMRC on recent achievements within subtractive manufacturing, the challenges faced by industry and how it can adapt towards a digitally enhanced, sustainable future. The engineer-to-engineer led day took place across two AMRC locations in South Yorkshire.
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A precision subcontract specialist has invested in a new DN Solutions’ DNM 4500 to increase its machining capacity and capabilities, strengthen its position within its customer supply chains and further improve the productivity, process efficiency and performance of its machine shop.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions (formerly Doosan) and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has supplied Ad Hoc Engineering, an engineering design and precision subcontract specialist based in Warwickshire, with a new, best-selling DN Solutions DNM 4500 vertical machining centre.

Installed at the company’s 1700 sq ft facility in spring 2023, the machine sits in close proximity to three other Doosan machines acquired by the company over the past nine years.These machines comprise an 8” chuck Lynx 220 lathe (installed in 2014), a DNM 500 II vertical machining centre (installed in 2015) and a 6” chuck Lynx 2100 lathe (installed in 2019).Collectively, these machines, boosted by the recent addition of the DNM 4500, provide the company with an impressive and flexible in-house machining resource.

The new DNM 4500, like the other machine tools the company has at its disposal, machines a range of high-precision components and families of parts that include housings, enclosures, flanges, valves and actuators. The parts find use within the company’s proprietary flow meter and scientific instrumentation products.

Once machining and inspection are complete, parts are sent out for different surface treatment operations, such as plating or powder coating, before coming back to the company for final assembly, testing and delivery to a range of customers operating in the electronics, and process control/measurement sectors.

Parts machined on the new DNM 4500 are typically made from solid aluminium, mild steel and stainless steel bar and billets, and are machined in a range of batch sizes(prototypes and one-offs through to thousands-off) using work-holding and fixtures that include pallets and tombstones.Part tolerances are tight but not excessively so, with the main machining requirements being consistency, repeatability and fast processing speeds.

With demand growing for its design, machining and assembly services, the company made the decision, back in 2022, to improve its milling capacity and capabilities.Two, older machines Ad Hoc had at its disposal were creating production pinch points that were affecting throughput and output.After careful consideration the company took the decision to replace both with a new, higher specification machining centre.

Explains John Watts, owner and director:“We provide comprehensive, high-quality machining services to customers and are a vital cog in their process chains. As such, we need to anticipate and respond quickly to their changing production requirements.”

He continues: “In order to maintain these supply chain relationships, we needed to strengthen our in-house milling capabilities by investing in a reliable, high-performance production-oriented machine that would meet ourimmediate and future requirements, and that of our customers.”

As a consequence, the company drew up a detailed specification checklist for its new machine tool investment with a number of ‘must haves’ which included. These ‘essentials’ included a FANUC control to ensure the quick and easy transfer of parts and programs between the new machine and its previously acquired DNM 500 II machining centre. In addition, the company required a large machining envelope to enable the machining of sizable and/or smaller, multiple parts in a single set-up

Further demands set out by Ad Hoc included: a powerful spindle capable of machining a range of different materials, and delivering fast part processing speeds; a reliable, versatile and proven machine with an established track record; quick availability and a competitive price; and proactive aftersales services provided by the machine tool supplier.

Says Watts:“As an existing Doosan user, we have good relationships with Mills CNC. We like their business approach and the three Doosan machines we had from them in the past have all performed well without missing a beat.It therefore made sense to contact Mills and, having discussed our needs and requirements with them and seen a DNM 4500 in action at their showroom facility in Leamington, it was a ‘cut and dried’ decision.

Mills CNC says that the DNM 4500 is a powerful, precise, flexible and reliable three-axis machining centre. The machine supplied to Ad Hoc Engineering features an 18.5kW/ 12,000rpm (BT 40) direct-drive spindle, a 30-tool position ATC, a large worktable (1000x 450mm) with a 600kg maximum load, and features the aFANUC 0iMP control with 15” touchscreen iHMI.

Notably, the DNM 4500 has a rigid-design and build, as well as roller-type LM guideways which, along with its integrated thermal compensation systems, ensure high precision and repeatability, even during long periods of operation.Fast rapid travel rates (36m/min) and quick tool change times (1.2 seconds tool-to-tool) guarantee quick part processing and, as a result, higher productivity, improved efficiencies and reduced lead times.

To help realise the machine’s productivity potential and optimise performance, the machine was supplied, as part of the investment package, with though-spindle coolant capability (20 bar) and a Nikken CNC 202 (4thaxis) rotary table for fast and accurate component indexing. Ad Hoc Engineering further augmented its machine tool purchase by investing in a precise, flexible and expandable work-holding system (comprising plates, vices, clamps) from Micro-Loc that enables quick job set-ups and changeovers, as well as the machining of large and/or multiple smaller parts.

Ultimately, the DNM 4500 has, as was intended, significantly increased the company’s machining capacity and capabilities.

Concludes Watts:“We needed a fast, accurate and competitively-priced machining centre, and with the DNM 4500, that’s exactly what we got.”
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Rolls-Royce Submarines to create jobs and expand

Rolls-Royce plans to almost double the size of its Raynesway site, creating hundreds of new jobs in Derby. Funded by the MoD, the site development is required to meet growth in demand from the Royal Navy and as a result of the recent AUKUS announcement.In March 2023 confirmation arrived that Rolls-Royce Submarines would supply all the nuclear reactor plants that will power new attack submarines as part of the tri-lateral agreement between Australia, the UK and US.This increase in demand will see new facilities built on recently acquired land surrounding the existing Raynesway site. It will also create 1170 skilled roles.
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Vollmer VDays focus on efficient processes

Sharpening specialist Voller recently opened its doors for the company’sVDays 2023 in-house trade fair at Biberach. Across three days, customers, suppliers and partners had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of grinding, eroding and laser machines with keynote speeches, specialist talks and product demonstrations. Around 400 visitors from around the world attended the event, which not only focussed on automation and digitalisation, but also efficient production using sustainable processes.

“We’re very satisfied with the popularity of and interest in our VDays,” says Jürgen Hauger, joint CEO of theVollmer Group. “In particular, we enjoyed the face-to-face conversations that we were able to have with our customers and partners.”

Over the course of VDays, Vollmer product managers and engineers explained sharpening technologies for various grinding, erosion and laser machines, as well as their potential applications in the metalworking industries. These presentations also included the latest innovations in tool manufacturing, such as the VLaser 370 laser machine, VGrind series tool grinding machines and the VHybrid 260 grinding and erosion machine.

Other machines, such as the CS 860 and the CSF 860 grinding machines, are suitable for the sustainable sharpening of circular saws. These models can machine the tooth face, tooth top and flanks of carbide-tipped circular saw teeth with high precision, energy efficiency and automation.

“Together with partner companies at the VDays, we managed to map the entire process chain in tool manufacturing and indicate how important digitalisation, automation and process efficiency are to tool grinding,” explains Dr Stefan Brand, joint CEO of theVollmer Group. “These trends offer opportunities for differentiation and competitive advantages, both for our customers and for ourselves.”
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Apprentices meet Emma Wiggs Challenge

Design concepts to help people with disabilities, developed by apprentices at engineering training centre Oxfordshire Advanced Skills, were revealed at the final of the Emma Wiggs Challenge. Double Paralympic champion Emma Wiggs MBE, who launched the competition earlier this year, was one of the judges who assessed the entries, which aimed to show how design engineering can be used to improve life for people with disabilities.

The winning entry was a low-level pull cord assistance device (LLPCAD) designed by Owen Mayers, to tackle the critical safety issue of unreliable and inaccessible emergency pull cords in disabled toilets. Owen’s solution is a cost-effective device, designed for easy installation or retrofitting in most locations. The highly commended finalist was the Scooter Buddy, a cost-effective, portable product that is suitable for storagein a chair bag or rucksack, designed by the team of Ryan Budd, Matt Chambers and Ben Hibberd.
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